So Ted “Calgary” Cruz won in Wisconsin on Tuesday — I guess it helps that Wisconsin borders on Canada — not because voters like Cruz, they don’t, but on the strength of the anti-Trump vote, whom they dislike more.
It is becoming increasingly clear that a significant portion of the GOP primary electorate is disenchanted with both candidates and may be casting their votes strategically to prevent either candidate from obtaining a majority of delegates and forcing a brokered convention.
NBC News reports the Wisconsin Exit Poll: 1 in 3 GOP Voters Would Abandon Party if Cruz or Trump Is Nominee:
Amid fierce clashes between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, one out of three Republicans voting in Wisconsin said they would abandon the party if either candidate is the ultimate nominee, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll.
When asked what they would do if Cruz were the GOP nominee in November, only 66 percent of Wisconsin Republicans said they’d vote for him. The remainder instead would vote for a third-party candidate (18 percent), vote for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton (6 percent) or not vote at all (5 percent).
The numbers got slightly worse for the Republican Party when voters were asked to consider Trump as the GOP nominee. Just 61 percent said they’d vote for the brash businessman, with the rest defecting to a third party (18 percent) or to Clinton (10 percent)—or simply staying home (8 percent).
Now, this is the state of Wisconsin, where its home state congressman, the GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fan boy, Rep. Paul Ryan, is currently Speaker of the House.
The GOP establishment chattering class this week has been talking up the possibility that the latest failed vice presidential candidate who will never be president will be the knight in shining armor who rides in on a white horse in Cleveland to save the GOP from itself.
See, Charles Koch Is Privately Committed To Getting Paul Ryan Nominated In Cleveland; WaPo’s Amber Phillips: Will Paul Ryan be the Republican nominee?, Kathleen Parker: Paul Ryan could make 2016 normal again, and Jennifer Rubin: Impossible for Paul Ryan to run for president? Think again. But see WaPo’s Paul Waldman, No, Paul Ryan can’t ride in to save the GOP.
Ryan has said that he is not a candidate for president this year, but it was just last year that he said that he did not want to be Speaker of the House, playing the game of making everyone beg him to serve.
The GOP started out with 16 candidates and is down to its final three survivors. After a long campaign season and 50 state primaries and caucuses in which millions of Americans voted, the RNC Convention is going to say to them “Thanks for playing, but we know better. We will pick our nominee, thank you”?
I don’t think so. The other part of that Wisconsin exit poll shows that GOP voters want the candidate with the most delegates, if not the magic number, to be the party nominee. Exit polls: Wisconsin GOP voters want nominee with most delegates, not majority:
A majority of voters casting their ballots in the Wisconsin Republican primary on Tuesday said the party’s nominee should be the candidate who receives the most delegates, regardless of whether that person clinches the 1,237 majority outright, according to an NBC News exit poll.
While 56 percent said the nomination should go to the candidate with the most votes, 42 percent said the delegates should be able to choose anyone they prefer at July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. More than eight-in-ten of those who said they supported Donald Trump (83 percent) said they preferred the nomination go to the person with the most votes, while just 42 percent of those backing another candidate said the same.
Trump has already made not-so-subtle threats of “trouble” at the RNC Convention if he has the most delegates and there is a move to deny him the nomination. It is looking more probable every day that this could be a brokered convention with “trouble” expected from Trump.
Maybe Cleveland in 2016 will do to the GOP what Chicago in 1968 did to the Democrats. “The whole world is watching!”